Archive for Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pumpkin Palooza returns for second year

Fundraiser to sell artist-decorated gourds for the benefit of Sunflower House

October 15, 2008

It’ll be a day filled with baked cooks, costumes, candy and more than 500 hand-decorated pumpkins.

It’s the Sunflower House’s second annual Pumpkin Palooza, and just like last year, the event will raise money to protect children while giving them a day of fun. This year’s event will be from 8 a.m. until the pumpkins sell out Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Sunflower House, 15440 W. 65th St., Shawnee.

“This year we have a lot more activities for kids,” said Cynthia Smith, CEO and president of Sunflower House. “I hope people come because it’s a way to support protecting our children in both Johnson and Wyandotte counties plus a day filled with fun.”

The Sunflower House is a children’s advocacy center serving Johnson and Wyandotte counties working toward the prevention of child abuse. The organization works within schools and with law enforcement agencies and community organizations to educate students, parents and professionals about child-abuse prevention.

The Pumpkin Palooza will feature more than 500 pumpkins that have been painted and decorated in various themes by more than 100 local artists that come from area universities, art institutes, Hallmark cards and amateur artists. Last year the event sold all of its 300 pumpkins and Smith said she was planning for an even bigger turnout this year.

“I just think the event is so unique and so different,” Smith said. “It’s something not done here before and it was an instant success.”

In the next couple weeks leading up to the events, artists will be coming in and working on their pumpkins that will range in price from $3 to $100. All proceeds will go toward Sunflower House’s cause.

As an added incentive for attendees to donate, Haake Companies, an insurance, consulting and risk management firm, has pledged to match the proceeds raised at the Pumpkin Palooza up to $15,000.

In addition to the previously painted pumpkins, Smith said a pumpkin patch for children has been added to the event. Unpainted pumpkins can be purchased and then decorated by the children themselves.

The Shawnee Fire Department and Shawnee Police Department will also be on hand to show off equipment. Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and go trick-or-treating and get their face painted.

Participants will have the opportunity to enter a drawing to win prizes that include a cookware set, a digital camera, a surround-sound stereo system and 32-inch high-definition television.

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